Kuria, Muthama held in hate speech probe

Monday September 11 2017

Mr Muthama was arrested in Tala, Machakos County, and Mr Kuria in Nairobi.

Nasa supporters demonstrate outside Pangani police station on September 11, 2017 where Johnson Muthama and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria were held after their arrest. Mr Muthama was arrested in Tala, Machakos County, and Mr Kuria in Nairobi. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

More by this Author

Police on Monday locked up Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama in a crackdown on hate-mongers.

Officers are investigating them for allegedly making inflammatory statements.

Mr Muthama was arrested in Tala, Machakos County, and Mr Kuria in Nairobi.

They were then taken to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Kiambu Road for questioning.

Police officers from the Flying Squad escorted Mr Muthama to the DCI headquarters but soon left for the Pangani Police Station, where he was questioned.

This comes as acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned that all hate-mongers would be prosecuted irrespective of their political affiliation.

Speaking in Nyamira County on Monday, Dr Matiang’i said action would be taken against inciters to bring to an end a culture of diatribe.

“Some people think that if they come from the ruling party, the law is not for them. We will be firm,” he warned.

“We have stopped talking on what we are going to do, we will do it. We will take action and you will witness this,” he said.

The minister was addressing hundreds of mourners at Matotora Farm in Borabu constituency, Nyamira, during the burial of former assistant minister Livingstone Atebe Marita, who died on August 31.

Dr Matiang'i, who is also the Education CS, spoke amid complaints from the public that Mr Kuria had targeted members of a certain community in his latest tirade posted on Facebook.

Mr Kuria was this year acquitted of hate-speech charges after prosecutors failed to prove its case.

On Monday, he was detained at the Pangani Police Station for questioning over his latest comments targeting opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Muthama was questioned for alleged hate comments.

He, too, was early this year acquitted of hate-speech and incitement charges.

National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Francis ole Kaparo had on Sunday accused politicians of engaging in hate speech and warned that action would be taken against suspects.

“It has reached alarming levels, and especially on social media. It just shows the decadence in our society,” he said on phone.

National Super Alliance and Jubilee Party leaders who were at the DCI to show support for Mr Muthama and Mr Kuria, respectively, drove to the Pangani Police Station, where they demanded their release but their demands fell on deaf ears.

Nasa co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula said opposition leaders were being victimised.

“The arrest of Mr Muthama is collateral damage. It is now clear that every time someone from Jubilee is arrested, they have to look for someone from Nasa to escort him to the cells,” Mr Odinga said.


He said his efforts to have Mr Muthama released on bond were dismissed.

News of his arrest filtered in as Mr John Mutuku — a local leader in Matungulu Sub-County, Machakos — condemned the action.

He said the arrest of Mr Muthama was a clear demonstration of the harassment of Ukambani leaders.

“This arrest reminds us of the old days when freedom of speech was unheard of. We are all entitled to free speech, which is enshrined in our laws," Mr Mutuku, who is also a Nasa supporter, said.

Jubilee woman reps Gathoni wa Muchoma (Kiambu) and Sabina Chege (Murang’a) sought to have Mr Kuria freed.

Reported by Stella Cherono, Ruth Mbula, Henry Nyarora and Gastone Valusi